A Friendship Lesson

 Today is Unite Against Bullying Day.  I wanted to share a great read-aloud and lesson that you can do with your kiddos during any part of the school year.  Sometimes we just need a little reminder to treat others nicely.  You know those days when your students just can't seem to get along?  This would be a great thing to do during a time like that, and it only takes about 20 minutes or less to do!

I read the book The Yellow Tutu, but really any book with an example of bullying, teasing, or friendships being tested will do!  The Yellow Tutu gives some really concrete examples of teasing, and it's a quick (and precious) read!  This original lesson idea came from Scholastic.  You can find that HERE.
After reading the book, you'll brainstorm the ways in which the main character was negatively affected by the other children.  Write down the words and actions that caused her harm.  I just drew a large body on chart paper and wrote the words there.
Talk to your students about how hurtful words can tear us apart.  Cut each phrase off of the body.  It's like we are left with nothing to give when people hurt us with their words and actions.  It's also a great time to compare Margo throughout the book.  We can really see how she is affected by the other children in the story.

 In the story, it just took one little girl to make a difference in Margo's day.  On band-aids, write down the things that Pearl did to encourage Margo and to build her back up.  Slowly start putting the body back together with the band-aids.
It's important to mention how the hurt doesn't go away even when we put Margo back together.  You can't just erase the feelings that occur after being bullied or put down.  We can forgive and move on, but the things we say and do can impact someone for a lifetime.  
I promise you'll have some really great conversations with your students during this read-aloud!  Hopefully they walk away wanting to be the kind of person that makes other people smile rather than frown :))) 

Multiplication Fact FREEBIE

Are you a 3rd or maybe even 4th grade teacher trying to get your students motivated to memorize those multiplication facts?  Hope and I believe that if students have a solid foundation in skip counting then they will be much more successful with those multiplication facts!  To complement our Magic of Math Unit 3 for 3rd Grade, we have made multiplication bracelets that your students can wear to practice those pesky facts!
We suggest focusing on one fact at a time and really practicing that skip counting.  You definitely don't want to pass out all the bracelets at once!
 Students can use their skip counting patterns to answer the multiplication facts, or you can have them leave the products blank so they can practice time and time again.
If you want your students to have a little fun practicing multiplication, www.abcya.com  has some really fun games.  Just click on 3rd grade and scroll down to numbers.  Many of the games you can choose which operation you want to practice.  ABCya also has apps you can download to devices.  They are very interactive and fun, but also educational!
 You can get this FREEBIE by clicking on the picture below or by clicking HERE!
We wish you the best of luck with fact memorization!

Finding Bat Facts: With FREEBIES!

This week second graders are reading Stellaluna and learning about bats.  Today, we focused on nonfiction books and learning information about bats.  We started off with a little bat chart and read-aloud.  We definitely found out some new information!
After our read aloud we discussed the difference between facts and opinions.  I gave sentences about bats to each student.  They came up, read the sentence to the class, and we decided if it was a fact or opinion!
After our mini-lesson, I gave each student a paragraph about bats, blue highlighter, yellow highlighter, and eyeball rings (found at Kroger).  I told the students that the rings were our Fact Finding Friends and they were going to help us distinguish between facts and opinions in the paragraph.  We went through the sentences together, highlighting the facts yellow and the opinions blue.  You can find these fact and opinion freebies HERE!
Afterwards, we made a simple little bat and used sticky notes to represent our learning.  The students wrote an opinion about bats on the blue star sticky note, and a fact on the yellow!  Keeping these the same color as their highlighters really helped them distinguish between the two!  This bat craft is in October's Rooted in Reading :)
We didn't get to this yet, but it's all ready for later in the week.  This little experiment comes from Holly Ehle.  Here's how it works...

Bats use their sense of smell to locate their young.  You get different flavors/scents and put them on cotton balls.  Pass them out randomly to students (not telling them which is which).  They walk around smelling the cotton balls of their classmates.  If they find their bat family, they stick together until all of their members have been found.  Then you can try and guess who has which scent!  I bought the bats to wear around their wrists so they can really act like bats :)))
It was a really fun day jam-packed with lots of fact finding!  This is one of my favorite times of the year in the classroom!!

Multiplication Strategies for 3rd Grade!

Hands down....multiplication is one of the most challenging things to teach in third grade. We have worked extremely hard to find ways to make multiplication challenging, engaging, rigorous...but most importantly FUN! If kids are having fun, we have found that the knowledge actually sticks! 

Each lesson is strategically broken down into three sections. This helps keep our math block consistent, but the breakdown is also tied to research based practices. We begin with a quick 10-15 mini-lesson, followed by independent/guided practice, and concluding with interactive notebooks to demonstrate mastery of the skill covered. Our lessons are also tightly focused to ensure that we are breaking content down so that it builds a strong foundation for our learners. 

Lesson plans are included for each day of instruction: 
Here is what will be covered in 3rd Grade Unit 3: 

Week One is all about introducing multiplication to your students.  They will learn strategies such as repeated addition, making arrays, forming equal groups, and more!
Week two is all about multiplication facts and strategies. Get ready to take your kiddos to a carnival filled with tons of repetition and multiplication practice! 
As they transition on to week three, the students will be working on mastering those properties of multiplication to build fluency and understanding. 
Finally in week four, they will put all new skills to use as they learn to attack those tricky word problems using our P.S.A. strategy! 
We have included everything you could possible need to completely implement this unit into your classroom. This unit is directly correlated to all Common Core and TEKS standards. Here is a look at a few of the other components of the unit: 

You can snag your copy of this unit HERE or by clicking the picture below! 
Happy Teaching! 

Reading Bulletin Board

Did you see Katie's post about building a love of reading at home and in the classroom?  Well, when I saw the Reading Alert Bulletin Board, I just knew I had to make one also!  I love the thought of gathering pictures of the students reading at home.  I didn't need to change anything up, so I pretty much copied Katie's board as closely as I could!
 These giant googly eyes are from Hobby Lobby.  If you don't have a craft store nearby, you can also pick them up on Amazon HERE!  I also picked up a couple of large bows :)

 The pictures of students reading at home will be layered on top of the yellow paper as the year goes on.
 If you are wanting to know how to make large bulletin board letters, check out THIS post for a little video tutorial!

Third Grade Math: Estimating Solutions

Happy Weekend, friends!  This is for all our Third Grade Teacher Friends out there!  We wanted to share a couple of games for Estimating Solutions with you!

To play this game students can use the monster number cards, a deck of cards, or index cards labeled 0-9.  It's best if they have a few of each number.  This game can be used for numbers of any size :)
Each student builds their addition sentence whether it is 2 or 3 digit (or higher).  Students write their equation and then round to estimate solutions.  The partner who calculates the highest sum is the winner of the round.  Once students get the hang of it they will realize how to arrange their cards to create the largest sum possible!  You can also play this with Estimating Differences.  Students just have to put the greater number on top or as their first number.  The student with the difference closest to zero gets a point for that round!
The next game is Monster Bingo.  This game is for estimating sums and differences of two digit numbers.  Of course I found a mistake after taking a picture.  This BINGO card's numbers have been fixed... goodness me!
There are six difference game boards so that students have different chances of winning the game.  You can do this whole group or in small groups.  Students solve the equation by estimating solutions.  Once they have a solution, students cover that number either with the monster eyes provided, or with counters/transparent chips.  If you don't write on the boards then you can save them from year to year!
 Those games are not included in Unit 2, so if you already purchased the unit, you will still want to grab the freebie!  Click HERE!  

In Unit 2 there are four skills that we cover...

Multi-Digit Addition:  Breaking Apart Addends of 3-Digit Numbers, The Associative Property, The Commutative Property, and 3-Digit Addition with Regrouping.
Week 2 focuses on 3-Digit Subtraction with Regrouping.  This concept can often times be repetitive and BORING!  We tried to keep the repetition that they need, but offer activities that are engaging and fun for our students :)
Week 3 is all about Estimating Solutions.  This week is full of FUUUUUUNNNNN!  We covered 2-digit sums and differences and 3-digit sums and differences.
Week Four is all about those pesky word problems.  Your students will learn how to conquer multi-step problems :)
You can check out Third Grade Unit 2 HERE!

Before I go, I wanted to share a few new math manipulatives that I ordered and just love.  These jumbo dice are just too much fun.  There are five different dice and they are foam... which is perfection!  They can be used during whole group or even given to students that are making good choices for games.
I also bought a regrouping kit for Joelle to use at home.  She will start working on that soon, and she isn't a huge fan of math.  Girlfriend loves to read, but compute... notsomuch!  So, I thought that might make it a little more visual and interesting for her.  I also found jumbo double dice.  Nothing fancy about them other than the fact that they are a larger than your average dice!  You can click on any of the pictures below to find these items on Amazon :)
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!

10 Reading Response Ideas

After my post last week about ways we can engage our students, I wanted to follow up and give some ideas on activities we can do during reading in lieu of using worksheets all the time.  If you caught my FB Live then you know that I don't think worksheets are ALWAYS terrible.  Here's my opinion:

1.  They should be used in moderation.
2.  My students should be seeing the skill addressed in many other formats as well... did we discuss, use manipulatives, write about it, play games, practice... or am I just giving a worksheet and hoping they get it?
3.  We do not differentiate with one worksheet.  Cutting a worksheet in half is not differentiation.  That is a modification.  If the students are just completing a different amount of questions or problems of the SAME caliber, there is zero differentiation going on.
4.  There is a time and a place for worksheets.  Sometimes we need to drill and assess.  We just don't want to waste our precious instruction time every single day answering 40 questions when we can show mastery answering 5 of the same type of questions.
5.  A worksheet is a worksheet is a worksheet.  While it's not terrible to do them every once in a while, they just aren't always best for our students.  There are so many other things we can do in class that will meet all of our students where they are.  We have visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learners in our classroom that need more than just worksheets all day.

So, keeping those things in mind, let's check out some activities that we can use that will engage our students during reading.

Index cards are a CHEAP way to respond to reading.  You can write on them, fold them in half, or use them for drawing pictures.  Use them for sequencing events, summarizing, or writing short stories.  They are the perfect little thing to use instead of paper every once in a while!  Colored index cards make things even more fun!
Just like index cards, sticky notes are CHEAP and we normally have them in excess!  Sticky notes are great for brainstorming because we can move them around on anchor charts and on assignments.  For some reason, students get super excited about sticky notes!  If you use different colors, it helps students organize information and create categories.
I love keeping spirals for different subjects because we can always pull them out to respond to our text.  Keeping things in spirals helps me to quickly check the work of my students.  Students can respond to a prompt about the story, give their opinion, make predictions, sequence events, write about characters, and so much more!  The possibilities with spirals are endless and you don't need to make any copies!
I've said it once and I'll say it again... I love a good craft.  I love bright paper.  I love cute eyes.  I just love it all.  My students have always loved making something that goes along with what we are reading in class.  It helps to make a connection, get them excited about the book, and it gives them something to discuss with their parents!  We can write about the story, characters, problem/solution, structure, and connections we made.  I also like to use crafts to display the skills we have been working on like you see on the tree.  That was a simple way to organize our main idea and details for the day!
I think anchor charts are so powerful.  Since we make them as a class, the students are much more invested in them than they are a pre-made chart.  We have brainstormed lots of words together, so they know where to look if they need ideas or the spelling of a particular word.  I also like to make charts where my students are the illustrators.  They just love looking at each other's pictures.  Charts are a HUGE focus of Rooted in Reading.  It's just an easy and effective way to hold a class discussion!
Interactive Notebooks are also a big part of Rooted in Reading.  More than anything, they help us go deeper with the text.  We aren't just reading and forgetting about what we read, we are responding to the quotes, structure, characters, and our connections.  These notebook entries help me stay on track as a teacher and take things to a deeper level.  They also provide my students with an opportunity  to think for themselves because they are writing based on how they interpreted a text.
I just think that flapbooks are a great way to organize information.  We can compare, write facts, show text evidence, practice vocabulary, describe characters, sequence events and much more!
Katie and I wanted to provide printables that could be used with any book (not just rooted in reading).  Sometimes you just need an organized space for your students to write on.  These are NOT worksheets because the students are not just filling in blanks or circling answers.  These printables help us to stay on track, work on a specific comprehension skill, and organize our writing in different ways.  I do still think they should be used in moderation, but if used correctly they can definitely promote higher level thinking!
Of course responding to reading with drawing is one of my favorites.  Whether we are doing a directed drawing or a personalized drawing, I just love kid art.  We draw characters, authors, animals, the setting, and anything else we can think of.  Normally we add something to our drawings like character traits, a writing piece, labeling, or a summary.  
When we are reading chapter books, a  lot of the times I will provide mini-booklets for my students to respond with.  We may write a little about each chapter, or focus on a certain comprehension skill for the day.  I also like using tri-fold booklets to organize the thoughts of students.  We may use them for book reports, to display information, or to discuss the different parts of a story.  Either way, booklets are great because they contain our learning for the week and I don't have to make a bajillion copies or pass out a ton of papers!

I hope that you found some ideas to incorporate different types of activities into your reading instruction.  There are probably 100 more ways to tackle reading in the classroom, but these were some of my favorites!  I think as long as you are changing things up, trying new ideas, and incorporating different types of activities then you are golden!